Mayor, task force announce new initiatives to combat heroin epidemic

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CHICAGO -- Chicago leads the nation in heroin related emergency room visits.  It’s more than three times the national average.

Last year more than 600 people died in opioid related overdose deaths.

Prescription drug abuse is at an all-time high and that is fueling heroin use as those who are addicted seek a quick fix.

Today Mayor Rahm Emanuel came together with city and suburban leaders and health experts to announce the findings of a heroin task force and suggest initiatives to take control of the problem and save lives.

First and foremost, they say more education is needed about the dangers of heroin use and the availability of Nalaxone, a drug that stops an overdose immediately.

“We are in the epicenter of the Heroin Highway,” Emanuel said.  “The scourge of heroin, opioids is destroying families and neighborhood."

They city also plans to fund prevention and treatment programs.